In the days since Spike Lee’s Instagram essay about skipping this year’s Academy Awards ceremony became the rallying cry for what some people were calling a Oscars boycott, the director has clarified his statements.
On Good Morning America, Lee said that not attending the awards was his choice — he’s going to the Knicks game instead — and that he isn’t calling for anyone else to follow his example. He wants people to make up their own minds about how they should respond to the second year in a row of all 20 nominees in the Oscars’ acting categories being white.
Speaking with EW prior to the premiere of his new documentary, Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, at Sundance, shared his reaction to the response his Instagram post has received in the days since, including George Clooney’s “We need to get better at this” comment.
“The world has changed. You have social media,” Lee said. ”People are more vocal about it, and I’m happy that Michael Moore has stepped up. George Clooney stepped up. That’s what I wrote in my essay. I’m tired of people calling me for my reaction. Why don’t you speak to the white nominees? Ask how they feel about it. Why not talk to the studio heads about it? You know how I feel about it.”
One of the central figures in this year’s controversy is Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who issued a lengthy statement after the announcement of this year’s nominees, and Lee shared his appreciation for her reaction.
“Cheryl Boone Isaacs is doing a great job. I don’t think I would have gotten my [honorary Academy Award] if it wasn’t for her. That was her agenda from the beginning, to diversify the voting members of the Academy,” Lee said. “It’s not going to happen overnight, but I commend her for this very hard job that she’s doing. I just felt sorry for her because she’s the face of the Academy now. It didn’t look good, like she was having fun with that apology.”